Sweetwater Creek State Park is home to the New Manchester Mill, or I should say the ruins of the New Manchester Mill since it was destroyed by the Union Army during the War Between The States.
Following the red blazed trail from the visitors center, the hike to the ruins is an easy half mile stroll with several photo opportunities along the way. Duck off the main trail and follow a side path along the creek’s edge for some interesting views of the rock formations in the creek.
Roughly a quarter mile in you can see the remains of the raceway that was used to power the mill, and if you look closely you can see where stones were placed to build the walls and divert the flow of the creek. There is a nice wooden bridge across the raceway that leads to a short trail that runs along the edge of the creek.
At the half mile point you see the ruins of the old mill and there are platforms and stairways that lead to different views of the mill. Access to the interior of the mill is not allowed and there is a nice tall fence all the way around the structure, this is to help protect the mill. On a side note, some scenes for the Hunger Games:Mockingjay films were shot here.
The rapids at the mill, when there’s enough water flow, are actually Class IV+ rapids and would surely be a whitewater kayaker’s dream along with a photographer’s as well, but on the day I visited, the water level was so low that you could cross the creek via the rock formations and never get your feet wet, this allowed me to step out and get some different views of the old mill.
Passing the ruins the Red Trail continues on for another half mile where it meets up with the White Trail which forms a loop leading hikers along Jacks Branch and Jack’s Lake eventually leading you back to the visitors center. I must say that the Red Trail turns little bit more difficult past the ruins as the trail gets rocky and the roots are more pronounced.
All in all, it’s a great place for a day hike and to escape the city without having to go far at all. There is also camping here as they have 10 yurts and 5 tent sites which stay booked, so make reservations well in advance if you plan on camping.
You can click on any of the images posted here to see full size high res versions over on my SmugMug site and here are some links to the parks website and park map.
As always please practice “Leave No Trace” and enjoy the outdoors.
Get Out And Shoot
All images were shot with my Sony a6000.